Sophie is one of thousands of children who is glad to be back at gymnastics after a tough few months away from the sport. But her situation could have been very different if it wasn’t for her parents and the Hardship Grants Programme.
Based in the West Midlands, Sophie lives with her mum, her dad and her sister, Olivia.
Earlier this year, Sophie’s dad, who is a computer programmer, was put on furlough as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Aged 6, Sophie has been doing gymnastics since she was 18 months old. Her club is like a second home. It’s where she gets to see all of her friends whilst doing her favourite activity.
“I love gymnastics!” Said Sophie. “Not just because it’s fun and I enjoy it but also because I get to exercise and see my friends.”
When the country went into lockdown Sophie was unable to go to gymnastics and there were doubts from her mum, Lucy, as to whether Sophie would be able to go back due to their financial situation.
Lucy explained: “We had to have a really difficult talk with Sophie to say that she might have to stop.”
“For Sophie, gymnastics is not just a hobby. For her, gymnastics is part of her life. Her coaches, her teammates and even the gym itself – it’s like a second home for her.”
As well as being physically beneficial for Sophie, gymnastics is also an activity that her mum believes helps her mentally and emotionally.
“Sophie has anxiety at times. If she’s worried about something or if something is upsetting her, gymnastics helps her to get those frustrations out.”
After constant worry that Sophie would not be able to return to gymnastics due to financial difficulties, things started to change when Lucy was directed to the Hardship Grants Programme.
“For Sophie gymnastics is not just a hobby. For her, gymnastics is part of her life. Her coaches, her teammates and even the gym itself – it’s like a second home for her.”
“It was Sophie’s deputy head teacher at her school who suggested that we look on the website at the Hardship Grants Programme to see if we were eligible for any of the funds.
“I genuinely can’t thank her enough for pointing us in that direction because if we hadn’t, Sophie wouldn’t be at gymnastics now.”
After being successful with her application, Lucy was delighted to share the news with Sophie.
“When I received the email, I cried.”
“Knowing that I could secure her place in her [gymnastics] squad and that I didn’t have to tell her that she had to stop doing gymnastics made my day.”
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